Prosecutor Demoted After Sending Judge Nude Photos

There was… a lot of information in the misconduct complaint against now former federal judge Joshua Kindred — most of it disturbing. One of the details is actually not about Kindred’s bad behavior. The complaint revealed that an Assistant United States Attorney (“AUSA”) “with whom he had a flirtatious rapport,” sent Kindred nude photographs. Of course, Kindred went on to share this fact with one of his law clerks (prompting the epic “I am just a law clerk” response), so it *is* also about Kindred’s poor choices.

But anyway, back to this unnamed (in the complaint) AUSA. Bloomberg Law is reporting that the federal prosecutor in questions is Karen Vandergaw. She was promoted to the role of senior litigation counsel as the investigation into Kindred’s behavior was ongoing. Now that all these details are emerging, Vandergaw has effectively been demoted.

Employees at the Anchorage office were informed Tuesday—without an explanation—that Karen Vandergaw, their go-to strategist on criminal cases, was being removed from her position’s elevated advisory duties, said two sources with knowledge of the situation, who were granted anonymity to share an internal personnel matter.

Her role will revert back to that of AUSA.

Bloomberg further reports that Vandergaw had appearances in at least eight cases assigned to Kindred, but “[Kindred] either recused or the case was reassigned within four days of Vandergaw’s name appearing on the docket.”

Despite this, Jamie McGrady, the state’s chief federal defender, said, “We are working to compile of list of cases in which the potential conflict of interest undermines either the sentence or the conviction.”

And part of that is due to the nature of Vandergaw’s now-previous role. Senior litigation counsel has an advisory function in cases beyond those they appear in, such as working on jury schedules and strategizing in advance of trials.

As retired federal defender Rich Curtner said, “When there’s a stench coming up from the ground you’ve got to keep digging.”


Kathryn Rubino HeadshotKathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, host of The Jabot podcast, and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. AtL tipsters are the best, so please connect with her. Feel free to email her with any tips, questions, or comments and follow her on Twitter @Kathryn1 or Mastodon @[email protected].


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